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Government in Telecom's pocket

Laila Harre The Alliance is claiming that the lack of action on the breach of the Kiwishare and private meetings between the government and Telecom show that the government is preparing to give way to Telecom - again.

'Despite a legal opinion from the Crown Law office saying that Telecom is in breach of the Kiwishare with it's plans to charge for its competitor's internet services the government has no will to stop it,' Laila Harre said.

'Today under questioning in parliament the government refused to stand by the Crown Law Office opinion that Telecom was breaching the Kiwishare. They also confirmed that there had been top level political meetings with Telecom to discuss the issue.

'This comes on the same day as reports that Rod Deane has been pressuring Senior Ministers to water down proposed competition legislation.

'Yesterday Bill Birch said that the Kiwishare doesn't apply to the internet, today he says the government is still considering the issue.

'What is taking so long? Telecom was to implement this decision on the 1st of August. The government knew about this decision before Telecom announced it and at that time thew Ministry of Commerce alerted the government to a possible breach of the Kiwishare.

'It is now as clear as day that this government is not prepared to regulate Telecom. They have an appalling track record and have no plans to tackle Telecom's growing monopoly.

'Telecom is thinking of floating its Internet Service Provider (ISP) XTRA which it says is worth $1 billion. It also says that XTRA is one of the only ISPs in the world that is making money.

'It is only making money because it is backed up by Telecom's local line monopoly and this government's unwillingness to create a fair competitive environment.

'Only the Alliance has a clear policy of regulating Telecom and has consistently been against their monopolistic behaviour. It is becoming increasingly clear that the only wa! y we can have a fair competitive telecommunications system ! is to get rid of this government,' Laila Harre said.

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